3375: Portsmouth: Fratton move could
by : Sam Cullen
Three years ago, many footballing issues seemed far different to how they are now. Eric Djemba Djemba was destined to be the new Roy Keane, Wales seemed destined to qualify for a major tournament for the first time since 1958 and Glen Johnson was one of the most exciting defensive prospects in England.
But as the well known saying goes, ain't hindsight 20/20?
After the injection of Russian Roubles at the Bridge, one of Claudio 'Tinkerman' Rainieri's first signings was Glen Johnson, West Ham's 19 year old right back.
Fast forward to July 2006 and the player has fallen on hard times, making only 4 league appearances for Chelsea during 2005/06 and drifting miles away from the England scene, partly due to issues over his conduct during an U21 tour.
A chance to resurrect his Premiership and maybe international career has been handed to him in the form of a season loan long at Portsmouth.
If his top level career is in the last chance saloon, then he has found in Harry Redknapp a man well versed in handling players at this stage on the race track.
These next 12 months will most likely come to define the rest of Johnson's career.
If he adapts well to the Pompey work rate and levels of commitment, then he will again put himself in the shop window, as well as sending a message to Jose Mourinho who seemingly doesn't rate the young Englishman.
It also isn't too far fetched to imagine an England recall if he is able to display good form at Fratton Park, as new boss Steve McLaren will no doubt be keen to try new players and tactics in the pursuit of success and silverware for the Three Lions.
Of course it could easily go the other way too. Johnson, who is used to life at the 'Mayfair' of the Premiership, might find it beneath him at, facilities wise anyway, what could easily be described as 'Old Kent Road'.
Poor performances could lead to biting comments from the Fratton faithful and accentuate the belief that his experience at Chelsea had turned him into a prima donna.
Brian Priske certainly wouldn't approve
If Mourinho sees weak performances for Pompey, then Johnson could well find himself being ejected from Stamford Bridge quicker than Winston Bogarde making a claim for back pay.
The transfer itself received little media coverage, partly due to the ongoing World Cup circus in Germany. I however think it is a move to watch with great interest. If it goes to plan, then England have another useful squad player at their disposal, if it goes wrong then Glen Johnson may vanish from the Premiership for good.
7 July 2006